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.uk election called off due to lack of interest

Nominet kisses goodbye to controversy

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After years of controversial and often fiercely contested leadership elections, .uk domain name overseer Nominet has cancelled its forthcoming directorship poll after only two people applied.

Two non-executive seats on the Nominet board of directors were up for re-election this year but, due to the poor turnout, both candidates have won by default.

"We're really surprised there were only two candidates," said Nominet chief executive Lesley Cowley, speculating that the "pretty serious" time and legal commitments required may have been responsible for the poor showing.

"There possibly isn't the same level of interest in Nominet as there once was," she added, "which one might consider a good thing."

It may be a good thing for Nominet to keep a low profile, given the takeover powers granted to the UK government in last year's Digital Economy Act.

In previous years, Nominet's directorship elections have served to highlight tensions in the domain name industry. Board-level scandals led to provisions in the DEA that would enable the government to take over Nominet if it was seen not to be acting in the best interests of UK internet users.

It is perhaps fitting that one of the soon-to-be appointed directors is Dickie Armour, who has sought election twice before and was on one occasion narrowly pipped to the post by a candidate who would bring controversy to the organisation.

In 2008's close-run poll, Armour lost to Jim Davies, a lawyer representing domain investors. Disputes between his community and Nominet's executive leadership would culminate in resignations and a decision by Nominet to sue Davies over alleged unresolved conflicts of interest.

With the then Digital Economy Bill looming, Nominet last year got its house in order with a piece of constitutional reform aimed at avoiding board capture and fending off government meddling.

Armour, general manager of Fibranet Services, said in his nomination documents this year that he hopes to help Nominet beef up its sales and marketing, with particular reference to social media.

The other successful nominee, Nora Nanayakkara, who will serve her second two-year term, stood on a platform of experience. Both directors-elect will be officially appointed 25 May. ®

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